Washington is keeping a sharp weather eye out for Tuesday, August 22, which this year corresponds in the Islamic calendar to the date on which many Sunni Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on his winged horse Buraq to “the farthest mosque”, which is traditionally identified with Jerusalem.
According to the Muslim legend, on that day, a divine white light spread over Jerusalem and the whole world.
DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that information rated “highly credible” has reached US undercover agencies of a secret report presented to Iran’s supreme ruler Ali Khamenei by Abdollah Shabhazi, one of the heads of the Supreme National Security Council. He claims to expose a mega-terror plot against Jerusalem scheduled for August 22, which aims at killing large numbers of Jews, Arabs and Christians. This atrocity will reportedly arm the United States and Israel with the pretext for hitting Iran’s nuclear installations, as well its capital, Tehran, and other big cities. Shabhazi says the US and Israel need to launch a military campaign to restore the deterrent strength they lost in the Lebanon war. The massive attack will reportedly focus on the Old City of Jerusalem and its eastern suburbs. The Iranian report claims that the plotters, who are not identified, are eager to recreate the divine white light whish spread over Jerusalem in the year 632. It does not rule out the use of a non-conventional weapon.
DEBKAfile reports that the authorities in Israel do not appear to be taking this threat seriously, unlike Washington – and Tehran.
US to push for sanctions if no joy from Tehran. Vital Perspective: 'On Thursday, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said the U.S. will push quickly for sanctions if Iran fails to suspend uranium enrichment by an end of August deadline, set by the Security Council. Tehran has said it will respond by August 22 to an offer of economic incentives from the P-5 + 1. The incentives would be in exchange for a suspension of Iran's nuclear enrichment activities.'
North Korea link? CTB: 'When news broke Friday that North Korea may be preparing for an underground detonation of a nuclear device, the question that immediately arose in my mind was whether this was linked to Iran's self-imposed Aug. 22 deadline for providing a final answer about its nuclear development. Certainly the two countries have cooperated in the past.'
Bernard Lewis explains it all. Via LGF, historian Bernard Lewis explains the significance of the August 22 date:
In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time--Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. This was at first reported as "by the end of August," but Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement was more precise.
What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.
A passage from the Ayatollah Khomeini, quoted in an 11th-grade Iranian schoolbook, is revealing. "I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another's hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours."
In this context, mutual assured destruction, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, would have no meaning.
August 22 and uranium enrichment. DebkaNet Weekly (subscription): 'Next Tuesday, Aug. 22, Tehran will reveal to the world that it has made important progress in uranium enrichment development following a breakthrough in the activation of P-2 centrifuges.
A loud international outcry is expected to ensue, together with another urgent demand from Washington to impose punitive sanctions on the Islamic Republic. However, foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki predicts that the Lebanon war’s impact will mute Western protests and persuade the Europeans more easily to oppose sanctions for long enough to give Iran more breathing space. The Russians and Chinese and their vetoes are in the bag. He is sure Europe will now shrink back from any military showdown with Iran and even the United States will reconsider any planned assaults.'